How it started and where we are now
The Toledo YES Project was started in 1983 by Fr. Tom Oedy as a program of the Youth Office of the Diocese of Toledo. In those days there were multiple YES Projects every year, sometimes in the summer, sometimes in other seasons, and they generally were no larger than 20 – 30 students. Through the 1980s and 1990s the project continued along these lines, getting larger than this only once in a while.
In the 1990s, many area Catholic high schools began to require service hours as part of their graduation requirements. With this change in policy, many high schools students began looking for ways to get those hours. The Toledo YES Project seemed like a perfect fit as one could get everything done in a 4 day time span while meeting new people from the area and have fun doing it!
In the late 1990s, big changes began to take place with the YES Project. The Diocese of Toledo began cutting funding in several program areas, including the Youth Office, as a result of personnel and financial shifts. The Toledo YES Project was getting too big and requiring too much financial backing for the Diocese to realistically continue to fund it as it had in the past. As a result it was cut out of the funding from that office.
However, many people behind the organization of the Toledo YES Project decided they wanted to keep things going despite these budget cuts at the diocese. Many youth ministers and adult volunteers worked very hard to ensure it continued and to find donations to keep things going. Eventually, it was decided to begin the process of becoming our own non-profit organization, which finally became official in 2005.
Since that time the Toledo YES Project has made great strides to move forward into the future as a sustainable non-profit organization. Guiding the way for the organization is a Board of Directors, established with the purpose of creating, implementing, and updating by-laws and procedures for how the YES Project should work. Many people that volunteer with the organization continue to be ones associated with youth ministry from Toledo area Catholic parishes and high schools, but now YES Project alumni and adult volunteers from the community at large have also begun to take the helm in many key areas.
Over the last few years the YES Project has seen an incredible growth in student interest. In 2010 we received nearly 250 applications, but sadly we were only able to accept 150 (still the largest group we have ever had!). As we look to the future there are many ideas on the table as to how we will be able to accommodate more students and do more work for God's Kingdom here in Toledo.
History of YES Project Sites
2017 - St. Pius X (July 19-22)
2016 - Our Lady of Perpetual Help (July 13-16)
2015 - Most Blessed Sacrament Parish, Toledo (July 15-18)
2014 - St. Rose (July 16 - 19)
2013 - Gesu (July 17 - 19)
2012 - St. Pius X (July 18 - 21)
2011 - St. Joseph, Sylvania (July 20 - 23)
2010 - Most Blessed Sacrament (July 21 - 24)
2009 - St. Rose (July 29 - Aug 1)
2008 - Little Flower (June 25 - 28)
2007 - Christ the King (July 18 - 21)
2006 - St. Pius X
2005 - St. Joseph, Maumee
2004 - St. Pat's Heatherdowns
2003 - St. Pius X
2002 - St. Catherine of Sienna
2001 - Gesu
2000 - St. Joseph, Sylvania
1983 - 1999 - Various Parishes
1982 - Holy Spirit Seminary
History of Day of Service Sites
Fall 2015 - Our Lady of Perpetual Help (September 26)
Fall 2014 - St. Joseph, Maumee (November 15)
B4YES - A middle school retreat in partnership with Notre Dame Academy
2016 - Notre Dame Academy (June 22-23)